I’ve made reference in the past to the first time I smoked weed, but I didn’t go into detail — nor did I talk about the first time I actually got high. If you’ve (for some strange reason) never done drugs, this might seem strange to you that they’re two separate events.
Over the course of many crazy late nights partying on the Denny’s lawn, I came to know a guy named Jared. He was this chill-ass hippy dude. Not the kind of hippy that’s pathetically politically misguided and ends up fucking shit up in harebrained attempts to “change the world, man”. Jared was the “listens to cool music in a room filled with pillows and smokes a lot of weed while wearing loose-fitting clothing” kinda hippy. Basically, the only kind of hippy worth hanging out with. He was like the Zen of people. Though we went to high school together, we rarely hung out during school, and he didn’t belong to any group or adhered to any clique. I never saw him get angry, he never talked shit about other people, and everyone you’d talk to about him said much the same thing : “I love Jared! He’s so chill”.
Quick side-note : this Jared isn’t the Sam Goody Jared. That Jared will be discussed in other stories.
It was one night, kickin’ it on the Ireland lawn of Denny’s, that Jared and I got to talking at some length about drugs. A few mutual friends of ours were tripping on LSD and I told Jared that the idea of seeing shit that wasn’t there seemed frightening to me. He said “haven’t you enjoyed altered states?”. I, being a nerd, asked “you mean Altered Beast?” 1a videogame from ye olden days, kids. He laughed and said “no, no… like when you’re high, or drunk”. I told him I’d never done either. He gasped, then smiled. “We need to get you high, man. You’d love it”. The anti-drug commercials of the 80s and 90s were all about how everyone would pressure you into taking drugs, and you were a strong-willed individual for resisting their advances. The truth is : no one pressures you into drugs. They just want you to enjoy the feeling they’re having, but if you say “nah, I’m good”, they leave you alone. I’ve turned down cocaine easily 100 times in my life, and no one’s ever asked twice or given me shit about it. Many people prior to the night Jared offered to smoke me out had said “hey, you wanna hit this?” and I always said no. But, something about Jared and his constantly chill attitude made me think “y’know… he might be on to something”. I knew he wouldn’t care if I said no, but the idea of hanging out with Jared and smoking weed seemed really appealing.
I drove us to his house a few blocks away, where he lived with his equally-hippy (and very permissive) mom, and his grandmother (who basically laid in bed all day from what I remember). His room was mostly black lights and string lights, covered in pillows, a couple of beanbag chairs, and a bed covered with more pillows. He put on the jams, lit up his pipe, and said “just light it, and then smoke it like a cigarette”. I coughed like a bitch, cause I inhaled it like a cigarette — and I was a pack-a-day Marlboro Red smoker who took huge drags when I smoked. I didn’t like the smell, and I didn’t like the taste. I just dug the vibe of that room, and Jared was chill as ever. He said “you probably won’t get high. no one gets high the first time”. I must have helped him smoke two bowls in a row, and I felt almost nothing.
I don’t know why that is, to be honest. In the movies, everyone gets super high their first time. But, in real life, it seems like no one gets high their first time. I took that as a myth and just figured I didn’t get high that first time with Jared because I had a built-in tolerance.
A few weeks later, we had a half-day at school. There were these two new guys in our crew. We thought they were brothers, cause they arrived at school on the same day and they were somehow long-time friends, moving from some other state. There was the brown-haired kid, I’ll call him Matt, and the blonde-haired kid, I’ll call him Steve. Of the two of them, Matt was a little more level-headed and normal. Steve was this spaced-out stoner kid who laughed at everything. I’m charmed by people who think I’m funny, so I made friends with Steve moreso than Matt. I mention these two less because of the context of this story, and more because of the context of another story I’ll tell you about later.
Anyway, on the half-day, Steve said “let’s go to my place, man!”, and a crew of about 10+ kids (myself included) followed him to his house. When we got there, two separate groups were packing bowls. We all went out into the backyard, and I — thinking I was immune to weed — bounced between the two smoke circles, taking hit after hit. Some of my friends were surprised to see me even taking a hit, having always thought of me as the sober one. I told them “yeah, I smoked with Jared a few weeks ago. It was cool, but I have a high tolerance”. When I said that, a friend of mine said “was it your first time? cause… that’s not a high tolerance. No one gets high the first time”. I said “no, no, I got high… it was just really mellow”.
We went back inside to gather our bags cause Steve’s parents were coming home soon and we needed to find a new place to chill. As I stood in the living room, I said to my friend from earlier “see? I’m not even high. I smoked twice as much as the rest of you and I’m not even feelin’…” and I never finished the sentence. The moment the words “not even feelin’…” left my mouth, I fell forward onto my face. Laughing like a maniac. Rolling on the floor. Couldn’t stand up. It was like I just heard the funniest joke of all time and it crippled me. The group of people with me had never seen me out of control, so they all started laughing as well. After a few minutes, I had to literally be carried out of the house because I couldn’t get up the strength to stop laughing long enough to walk.
I decided to just walk home, which was a trip because I had to walk past my mom’s school while it was still in session. I had that weed-induced paranoia of “oh shit, what if she sees me?” — which would’ve been impossible cause it was a pretty large middle school and she worked in one of the windowless buildings surrounded by other buildings and she’d have been in the middle of class anyway. It didn’t stop me from sneaking around the outer perimeter of the school grounds like I robbed the place. When I got home, I ate everything in the cupboard I could find, drank what felt like 2 gallons of water, and was endlessly entertained by videogames for the rest of the day.
As it turns out : I’m a giant light-weight with almost every drug 2the exception being alcohol, but I’ve worked really hard at building up a tolerance. To this day, I’ll still fall on the floor laughing if I take more than a hit or two off the pipe. I’ll fall asleep for 10 hours if I take half of a single sleeping pill (even though the bottle recommends two full pills). Even aspirin, I take only a single pill most of the time. On the plus side, drugs like weed are still fun and novel for me.
In the end – Jared was right. I needed to get high. And I loved it.